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Whistle-blower claim filed against Rutgers over coach's misconduct

Employees in Los Angeles and Long Beach who work in hostile environments need to know that they have rights that must be protected when they choose to expose their employers' wrongdoings or testify against employers who are under investigation for committing workplace violations.

Unfortunately, employers do not always respect employees' rights under federal and state laws when employees choose to do the right thing, and employers may violate workers' rights by retaliating against them and firing them for raising concerns. When this happens, employees may have every right to pursue wrongful termination and workplace retaliation claims.

Last week, a former employee for Rutgers University chose to pursue a whistle-blower claim against the New Jersey school for firing him after he raised concerns about the school's basketball coach. The coach, Mike Rice, whose behavior toward his players has been described as abusive, was fired last week after footage of the coach's misconduct was made public.

The former employee, Eric Murdock, claims that the school did not renew his contract last summer because he had voiced his concerns about the way basketball players were being treated by Rice. Murdock claims that he even showed the school footage of Rice's inappropriate behavior, but the school did nothing to discipline the coach for his behavior. The school also did nothing to protect Murdock after he provided the school with evidence of the coach's behavior.

Last week, Murdock chose to make public some of the footage he had of Rice's actions toward the school's basketball players. After the footage was made public, Rice was fired. An athletic director for Rutgers also resigned after the incident. Murdock filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in response to his firing after making the footage public. He claims that the school fostered a hostile environment for students and employees by choosing to ignore his complaints. The school did not address the problem until Murdock finally revealed to the public what has been going on at the school.

It will be interesting to see what happens next in this case. According to reports, Murdock is now being accused of extortion.

Source: The Daily Journal, "Rutgers whistle-blower sues," April 5, 2013

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